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FAT MAMMIES' RESTAURANT.
Mid 20th CENTURY-Early 50's.
Rockport, Kentucky.
Stat by jrd on 12/12/05. Reworked on 11/9/07. Updated on 8/7/10.
Photographers unknown.

 

 

 

Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty.
But everything else starts to
wear out, fall out, or spread out.


Irene Decker Shaw-Owner/Operator of "Fat Mammies".
Picture taken in 1953.



Greetings all and a continuous wish for health and prosperity to you and yours. Hope this stat finds your day going well and that tomorrow will be even better. Have some "Inside" time as the weather outside is not that great. It is even trying to snow with a snowflake or two being spotted. Now, this gives me some "Keyboard" time. Will get the old fingers moving and in tune with the old brain and try to type out something that makes sense. Just hope that it will be worth reading and that there will be a few that will stay tuned until the end. Hope to give each reader a chance to go back in time to a more tranquil and peaceful time, namely the fifties. I have not researched any of this material and all of it is just what I recall with a lot of help from my spouse. Will get a few names and dates incorrect and feel free to come on back at me to inform me of such. I will probably leave out some pertinent parts and maybe even a name of two. Have tolerance with me here and correct me if you so desire.

Please remember that pictures that were taken back in the fifties, for the most part, were not the best of quality. Also, be advised that any picture that I will use will have to be scanned and converted to a digital image, thus some quality will be lost in this process. Sorry, but I do not have a picture of the old Rockport Bank Building. Please see the previous stat for a picture of the front part and for some information on the Old Bank Building.

Somewhere around the year 1953, Adral Shaw and his wife, Irene Decker Shaw, leased the old Rockport Bank Building and opened a restaurant in Rockport, Kentucky. They rented the entire building and made a living quarters on the second floor. Access to the second floor was via a wooden stairway attached to the outside wall of the bank. The restaurant stayed open until the late sixties or early seventies. The business fell upon hard times on more than one occasion, but the Shaw's managed to pull it through after each difficulty. I never knew the official name of the place; Always called it "Fat Mammies". Their restaurant was a fun place to be and especially on the weekends. It, at times, was the only place to be. There was just no other place open. After a basketball game or other high school event, some of the young and old would meet at "Fat Mammies". Maybe a soft drink would be all that some would order. I know that, when dating, Dotty and I got accused of ordering one Dr. Pepper and two straws. Hum, part of that may have been true. Other customers may have ordered something from the grill. Anyway, after a school event and on the weekends, there was enough customers in the place that Adral and "Deanie" could make enough to support a family. There may have been times when a plate lunch was served or a full meal from the kitchen, but most of the time, it was only what could be cooked on the grill.

Adral Shaw was the son of Mrs. Addie Shaw Singleton. Don't know if Adral's father died, but soon after Adral Shaw was born, his mother married Dellie Singleton. Adral was then raised by his grandparents. Mr. and Mrs. Dellie Singleton went on to raise a large family. Their sons were Oral, Dellie Junior, Bobby, Donnie and Jerry. Their daughters were Margaret Helen, Sylvia, Carrie and Doretta. Hum, I may be leaving someone off this list and especially a daughter. Don't believe that I have though; may have misspelled a name or two. See the first paragraph for clarification on names and dates.

Irene Decker Shaw was the daughter of Alfonzo and Mary Decker. They also raised a large family in the Rockport area. Mr. and Mrs. Decker's sons were Doug, Alva, and Bob. Mrs. Decker had a son, Charlie Gamble, from a previous marriage. Daughters of this marriage were Irene, Lucille and Helen. Again, see paragraph one.

Adral and "Deanie" adopted their niece, Eunice Faye, after Bob Decker's wife died. Eunice Fay Shaw was a near teenager when the Shaw's operated "Fat Mammies". Kandi Kay was born several years after the adoption and she was raised in and around "Restaurant Life".

As with Shim and Jamie, given a few years of dealing with the public and there are many tales and events that can be told. Adral and Deanie were not left out here. Some of the tales were true and of course, some not. With Adral and Deanie, if a tale came up, there was probably some element of the truth to the tale. Adral and Deanie would do anything for you if they liked you. Conversely, if they did not like you, your experience with the Shaw's may not be that pleasant. For instance, there was not a set opening and closing time for the restaurant. I have gone past the place at six in the evening and it would be closed. The next day, it may still be open at ten or eleven. I have seen Adral tell a customer that the grill was closed after they had entered and ordered a hamburger. I have seen him feed a customer whether they had enough to pay for the meal or not.

In this period of "Fun Time" in Rockport, Ohio County had a Sheriff and a main Deputy Sheriff that enjoyed their visits to Rockport. While the two of them were similar in personalities and they were nowhere near the extremes of Barney and Andy of the old TV show. Guess, Glen Wells and Lawrence Westerfield may have been more like Gomer and Barney. No, not really. Both were good people and good law enforcement officials. It is just they seemed to show their human side when in Rockport. Glen was the sheriff and Lawrence was the deputy and after Glen's terms elapsed the legal limit on how long a sheriff could serve, Lawrence ran for sheriff and won. This is the only case that I know of where some Durbin's actually switched over to Republican registration so they could vote for Lawrence. Anyway, the fifties was a period of tranquil times and crime and small town problems were rare and very seldom was there a need for a sheriff. That allowed Glen and Lawrence time and they always looked for a reason to travel to Rockport. Some partying and drinking in Rockport was a normal occurrence on Friday and Saturday nights. Disturbances and meanness were rare and Glen and Lawrence would just seem to ignore the "Rabble Rousers". Actually, the two of them preferred to "Bushwhack" a couple as they parked on the "Old Ferry Road". "The Old Ferry Road" was a main road at one time that went from the opposite side of the Green River at Rockport and connected to highway 62 just after it crossed the railroad. The "Old Ferry Road" was close to Rockport, but in Muhlenberg County. It was mostly a lonely gravel road with lots of side roads and a couple could "Park" on these side roads and sit and talk or do a little smooching. It was not uncommon for several couples to be parked on the side roads as the "Old Ferry Road" went from the river to highway 62. Dotty and I very seldom parked on this old road, but on occasion would and have been caught by Glen and Lawrence. Fact is, they promised us that they would "Bushwhack" us every chance they found. We have been sitting in the car and talking and all of a sudden see a police car pull up and soon flashlights would be shinning in the car. Glen and Lawrence would ask us what we were doing, laugh and drive on off. Glen and Lawrence developed the reputation for not being the bravest of the brave, but think that it was a false representation. Some said that Glen was afraid and had Lawrence to travel with him, but I think that the both of them just like to travel to Rockport and the "Old Ferry Road" together. Fun time for all.

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Update on 8/7/10:
Adral and Irene's daughter, Kandi Kaye, has sent some information and I will make a few corrections.

Adral's dad was William Hayes Shaw and he was buried on August 6, 1914, the day that Adral was born. Adral was then raised by his grandparents, Mrs. Addie Shaw Singleton's parents.

For the most part, the restaurant in the old bank building was called Shaw's Cafe when Adral and Irene ran the place. A Goldenrod Sign, on the left side of the building, read "Shaw's Cafe". Of course it aged over time and was probably not remembered by most Rockport residents.

I left out a Singleton sister. Wilda Singleton was one of the older sisters.

See you......
~jrd........~

 

 

Bonus Question-Who are these two lovers?
Notice The Hamburger On The Right.

 

Rockport Railroad Bridge!

 

Hope you have enjoyed

Left Click on the couple below to respond.

 


durham29@msn.com.



Thanks for looking.

See you.......
jrd